20 November 2008

RI to send huge delegation to climate meeting

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, November 20, 2008

Indonesia plans to send a huge delegation comprising 92 members to a UN-sponsored climate-change conference in Poznan, Poland, next month.

Of that number, only 15 will be negotiators, the National Council for Climate Change (DNPI) announced here Tuesday.

It was not clear why the Indonesian government would send a bigger mission to Poznan than to the UN climate change conference in Bali last year.

At the Bali meeting, Indonesia was represented by 60 delegates assigned by State Minister for the Environment Rachmat Witoelar.

The DNPI, chaired by Rachmat, is in charge of preparing the Indonesian delegation to the Poznan conference.

The delegation, to be headed by the environment minister, will leave for Poland next week for the 14th climate change conference from Dec. 1 through 12.

DNPI secretary-general Agus Purnomo said the delegation had yet to finish formulating the agenda that would be tabled at the conference, most likely the much-promoted reduction emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) scheme.

"We don't have a fix agenda yet. I hope we can finish it in the next few days," he told The Jakarta Post.

The delegation includes Rachmat's wife Erna Witoelar and his deputy Masnellyarti Hilman, presidential advisor Emil Salim and his wife Roosminnie Salim, Indonesian Ambassador to Poland Hazairin Pohan and the Forestry Ministry's director of economic development and environmental affairs, Ghafur Akbar Dharmaputra.

Seven special staffers and advisers to the environment minister are also on the list. There are also 11 Foreign Ministry officials, mostly from the Warsaw and Geneva embassies.

Two Forestry Ministry officials will also join the conference.

Indonesia expects the Poznan meeting to follow up on the Bali road map, which agreed to set a new emissions cut commitment to replace the Kyoto Protocol that ends in 2012.

The Bali road map mandates the output of a new commitment on emissions cuts should be reached by December 2009 at the latest, at a climate-change meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono twice held video conferences with Polish Prime Minister Donal Tusk and Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen to ensure the Bali road map would be on the agenda at the Poznan and Copenhagen meetings.

Many experts worry the Poland conference could face tough challenges, mainly in emissions reduction targets, due to the U.S.-led financial crisis that has hit industrialized nations.

The United States has refused to sign the emissions cut target for fear of economic damage.

Environment minister Rachmat, currently president of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), claimed some countries were trying to shift their focus away from fighting climate change because of the economic downturn.

Fitrian Ardiansyah, WWF Indonesia's program director of climate change, said the Poznan meeting would be very important for Indonesia to ensure the target for the Bali road map.

"Because anything is still possible in the Poznan meeting, Indonesia needs tough negotiators to ensure the Bali road map is put on the conference agenda," he said.

Fitrian, who will be part of the Indonesian delegation, admitted he would finance his own trip to attend the Poznan conference, unlike the wives of other delegates.

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